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Christopher Hitchens

From '68 agitator to staunch supporter of George W Bush's Iraq war—what explains Hitchens's political journey? I spent three days with him in Washington trying to find out

For most of his 40-year career, Christopher Hitchens’s notoriety has been confined to highbrow journalistic, literary and political circles. In the last 15 years, he has been familiar to readers of Vanity Fair and the Atlantic, and to viewers of the American current affairs shows that invite him on to say outrageous things in stylish phrases. His aptitude for the iconoclastic flourish—describing Princess Diana and Mother Teresa at their deaths, for example, as, respectively, “a simpering Bambi narcissist and a thieving fanatical Albanian dwarf”—sustained his currency as an intellectual shock troop of the left. Then, with his support for the…

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